By: Nick Gambino
This morning Apple held a special event in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco where Tim Cook and his team announced the new iPhone 7.
From all accounts the iPhone 7 is, no surprise here, the best iPhone to date. While it comes with its normal upgrades like an improved processor chip (A10 Fusion), Retina HD Display, iOS 10, etc., there are some pretty big changes that we’re going to have to get used to.
Let’s get into the major specs of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The Home Button, which is a staple of the iPhone, is still here, at least for a little while. Though there have been rumors that we might see Apple doing away with it in the near future, for now they’ve only redesigned it.
It’s now force-sensitive and works with the Taptic Engine to give you feedback based off the app you’re using. In other words, the button doesn’t move in and out any more like an actual push button. Instead the pushes and clicks are simulated by the Taptic Engine. This is the same type of feedback that you experience with 3D Touch.
Water and Dust-Resistant
So far iPhones have been splash-proof at best. The iPhone 7 promises to be swim-proof. The new ad even shows swimmers and divers wearing the watch as they fully immerse themselves in water. This is pretty huge. No more worrying about dropping it in the toilet (do people still do that?) or getting caught in the rain.
This is all due to new seals and adhesives designed into the makeup of the phone. One cool thing is the way they keep water from going into the speaker. Because the speaker requires letting air in to work, that means water can get in there too. They’ve redesigned the speaker system to push out the water once you’re done getting wet.
Like each of its predecessors, the iPhone 7 has improved the camera once again. It has optic image stabilizers, a larger aperture lens and a flash that puts out 50% more light. To sum it up this camera takes vivid, great photos even in low light situations. At least that’s according to the untouched photos taken by pro photographers with the camera and shown at the event.
They really were stunning for a phone camera or any camera for that matter. And for photography nuts out there the iPhone can now take Raw photos.
The front-facing camera (selfies) also gets an upgrade from 5MP to 7MP.
Now the 7 Plus gets some awesome new features with the camera, unavailable on the 7. Specifically, it gets a second camera. A second camera you say? Hold your horses, I’m getting there.
Because it’s a bigger phone they had some room to mess around and managed to fit a second camera next to the regular camera. While the usual wide-angle camera still does its job, the second one allows for a telephoto lens. This means you can zoom in to take a photo without losing quality. Most phone camera zooms are software zooms, but this isn’t.
There’s even an added portrait feature on the 7 Plus that allows you to blur the background and keep your subject sharp in the foreground by adding a depth effect.
Speakers and Headphones
The speakers are now stereo for the first time with a speaker at the top and bottom of the phone.
But that’s nothing compared to the major change coming to the headphones. As rumored, they’ll be doing away with the normal analog headphone jack. Instead all headphones will now be lightning headphones, allowing you to plug into the lightning jack to hear your audio.
The big question is: why? Why do away with a system that seemed to work for years and years. And that’s the answer. The system is well over 100 years old and it was time for a change. And probably more important to us as consumers, this allows for more space to put other things into the phone to improve performance.
For anyone clinging to their analog headphones they will be shipping an adaptor with all iPhone 7’s so you can still use them.
The other big announcement in the headphone arena is the unveiling of AirPods. This wireless headphones look like the EarPods without the wires. Basically, they look like stems sticking out of your ear. That might take some getting used to but I definitely look forward to not having to worry about my wires fraying and splitting.
These new AirPods are powered by the new W1 chip. The sensors can detect when they’re in your ear and will play and switch between devices easily. Double-tapping them activates Siri.
The case they come in is actually pretty cool. It’s a small tic-tac looking box that will charge up your AirPods. They stay charged for 5 hours of use and the case itself holds up to 24 hours of charge. Just charge the case up at the end of the night with a lightning cable.
My only real gripe here is they haven’t provided a real solution to charging and using your headphones at the same time. The singular lightning jack doesn’t allow for that unless you’re using AirPods. AirPods run $159 so this isn’t really a solution for everyone.
Wireless charging of the iPhone would solve this but no mention of when we’ll see that. I guess in the meantime some of us will have to do with a lightning jack splitter.
AirPods will be available for purchase in late October at the aforementioned $159 price.
The phone design itself is pretty slick, obviously. The Jet Black version has a high-gloss seamless surface between the glass and aluminum back. While the Black is an all-black version that has more of a matte look to it.
Other colors include the standard Gold, Silver and Rose Gold.
Other slight refinements help to hide the antenna a little more but otherwise it looks similar to the 6s.
Storage capacity takes a big jump here. We’ll now see 32GB, 128GB and a whopping 256GB.
Orders for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus start this Friday, September 9th, and will start shipping next week on September 16th. Prices remain the same as the previous iPhone starting at $649. iOS 10 is coming to a phone near you on September 13th.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.